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Giant Vinegaroon

Mastigoproctus gigantea



Mastigoproctus gigantea, also known as the giant vinegaroon or giant whip scorpion, is a docile, nocturnal arachnid native to warmer regions of the Americas, kept as a pet for its unique appearance and low-maintenance requirements.

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Mastigoproctus gigantea, commonly known as the giant vinegaroon or giant whip scorpion, is an intriguing species of arachnid that and popular pet arachnid. This animal hails from the warmer parts of North, Central, and South America, predominantly in the desert regions of the southwestern United States. It’s called the “giant” vinegaroon because it is the largest of its kind, with adults reaching a size of almost 9cm (or about 3.3 inches) in body length, not including their long, whip-like tail. Mastigoproctus gigantea sports a robust, dark-coloured body. The body consists of a fused head and thorax, a segmented abdomen, and eight legs. However, the first pair of legs have evolved to function as antennae or “feelers,” so in some sense, it appears to walk on six legs rather than eight. The most distinguishing feature is the long, thin, whip-like tail, which is often held in a forward position over the body. This arachnid is nocturnal and has a rather slow and deliberate pace of life. During the day, they can be found hiding under rocks or burrowing in loose soil. At night, they emerge to hunt for a variety of prey including insects, spiders, and small lizards. They capture their prey using their large, pincer-like pedipalps. The name “vinegaroon” derives from their defensive behaviour. When threatened, the vinegaroon can spray a mist containing acetic acid from a gland at the base of their tail, which smells strongly like vinegar. This spray can deter many predators, but is harmless to humans, beyond causing a little discomfort if it gets in the eyes or open wounds. Giant vinegaroons or giant whip scorpions are relatively simple to keep compared to other pet inverts, but they still require specific care to maintain their health and happiness. They are often recommended for beginners in the arachnid hobby due to their docility, hardiness, and relatively low maintenance requirements. Giant vinegaroons, like many arachnids, can be handled, but it’s generally recommended to do so minimally. These creatures are not as accustomed to being handled. Excessive handling can cause them stress and potentially provoke defensive behaviours. Although giant vinegaroons are typically non-aggressive towards humans, they have two main forms of defense: pinching and spraying a mild acetic acid solution from a gland near their tail. The pinch is not very painful but can be surprising, while the spray, although not harmful, can be unpleasant as it has a strong vinegar-like smell and can cause irritation if it gets in your eyes or mouth.


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